Friday, September 23, 2005

Word of the day: Snarge

snarge n. the bloody goo that results from a bird-plane collision.

This article is all about the bird strikes in airplanes, and in addition to their word of the day, contains some rather interesting quotes:
"Scientists can then tell what kinds of birds are commonly smashing into America's airplanes, something of intense interest to both the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. military."

"The military deals with feathered projectiles on a daily basis"

Einstein would disagree about who's the projectile doing the smashing, claiming as he always does that all motion is relative. That Einstein, does he always have to be so diplomatic? But I just get this vision of a 200-ton plane just minding its own business, when a reckless, evil 4 pound bird comes along and smashes into it at high speed. And also, of the sun revolving around the earth.

There's also this interesting tidbit, which I think proves my oft-quoted "Law of Truly Large Numbers". A pilot detects a collision with something at 1,800 feet. After the plane lands, the 'snarge' undergoes DNA analysis to determine what kind of bird it was. The result? It was a cat. That's right, there was no mistake. The animal that hit the plane 1,800 feet off the ground was, in fact, a cat. Think about that for a second. Was it an act of God or some supernatural phenomenon? If that's what you thought, then you weren't using your imagination. Apparently birds of prey sometimes catch small cats and occasionally they accidentally drop them at high altitude, and one time the cat hit an airplane. This reduces the odds against to only highly improbable. There's always stuff that sounds impossible, until you hear the explanation.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Life imitates satire

When life imitates satire, is it ever NOT scary?

The 'Fusion'

Today we examine the question, "what's the maximum number of blades you can put on a disposable razor, and still be considered sane?" Normally that would seem like a pretty mundane subject.

That's why I love The Onion. It's great satire. About a year ago, they had a hilarious fake opinion piece entitled "Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades" ostensibly written by the CEO of Gillette.

I still laugh to myself about that Onion bit, whenever I see a Schick Quattro. However, today my laughter was cut short by an actual news article entitled, "Gillette unveils 5-bladed razor".

How long do you think it'll be until President Bush appoints a first-trimester fetus to the Supreme Court?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Opinions - like belly buttons

Everyone has them.

So because this is my blog, and seeing how blogs are such a self-indulgent medium anyway, here are my thoughts on the Katrina disaster.

From now on, can we stop using the term "mandatory evacuations"? There's absolutely nothing "mandatory" about them. Anyone who wanted to stay, stayed. Anyone who needed help to leave, didn't get it from the government. There was a verbal warning, but no physical force to move people. How is that "mandatory"? Mandatory means the police and National Guard go door to door, cuffing and stuffing anyone they find, and taking them out of the city. That's not anywhere close to what actually happened.

Why don't we ask the National Guardsmen which duty they'd rather have - dragging people kicking and screaming from New Orleans on August 28th, or wading through sewage to get them on September 2nd.

I know, I know. What the Guardsmen will tell you (and I agree) is, on August 28th, the people they were trying to save would have thrown rocks at them, and called them Nazi thugs. Today, they people they're saving are actually happy to see them. And what if the hurricane had missed? There would have been a field day of moral outrage (both feigned and legitimate) over forced evacuations.

So that brings me back to blaming the victims, which I really don't want to do. Is it wrong of me to ask people to take responsibility for their own lives?

I have read that a lot of family pets were turned loose before the hurricane. Many of them, without access to motorized vehicles, opposable thumbs, or any ability to comprehend the English warnings, still got to high ground and survived. In this case "high" means "anything above sea level".

Now is the time for helping, not blaming. I know that. Since I am not actually anywhere near New Orleans, there's not much I can do to help, so forgive me for moving on to the blaming. I just don't want to see the same disaster happen again. Next time I want people to pass the test that they failed this time. So once everyone is safe and dry and fed and housed again, could the able-bodied people tell me what their excuse was?